Shoulder pain is a common problem caused by various conditions, including rotator cuff tendinitis, bursitis, and impingement syndrome. For many people, nonsurgical treatments such as rest, ice, and physical therapy can provide relief. However, some people may require steroid injections to help reduce pain and inflammation. Below, we’ll discuss steroid injections and how they can help relieve shoulder pain.
What Are Steroid Injections?
Steroid injections, also known as corticosteroid injections, are anti-inflammatory medications. They are typically made from a synthetic form of the hormone cortisol, which is produced naturally by the adrenal glands.
Also, steroid injections may contain other medication, such as anesthetic numbing agents. In such cases, they are often referred to as corticosteroid/local anesthetic injections.
How Are Steroid Injections Used to Treat Shoulder Pain?
Steroid injections for shoulder pain are usually injected into the rotator cuff, the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. The medication can be injected directly into the rotator cuff or the space around the rotator cuff (known as the subacromial space).
In most cases, a local anesthetic such as lidocaine is also injected into the area to help numb the pain. The steroid injection itself only takes a few minutes to administer. The process usually takes less than 30 minutes when combined with the local anesthetic.
The effects of steroid injection can be almost immediate. However, the full effects may not be seen for several days or weeks. Multiple injections may be necessary to achieve the desired results. To avoid damaging the rotator cuff, steroid injections are usually limited to no more than three per year.
What Are the Benefits of Steroid Injections for Shoulder Pain?
There are several benefits of using steroid injections to treat shoulder pain, including:
Relief From Pain and Inflammation
Relief from pain and inflammation can be particularly helpful for those with rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis. The injections do this by reducing the amount of inflammation in the affected area. This can allow the muscles and tendons to heal and prevent further damage.
Improved Range of Motion
The reduced inflammation can also help improve the shoulder’s range of motion. This is because the swelling and pain associated with tendinitis make it difficult to move the shoulder joint through its full range of motion.
Avoidance of Surgery
For some people, steroid injections can provide enough pain relief to avoid the need for surgery. This can be particularly attractive for those not candidates for surgery or who wish to avoid the risks associated with surgery.
Improved pain and range of motion can lead to better function in the shoulder. This can be helpful for those who need to use their shoulder for work or other activities. Also, better function can help to prevent further injury.
Steroid injections are a safe and effective treatment for shoulder pain. They can provide relief from pain and inflammation, improve range of motion, and help avoid the need for surgery. North Lakes Pain can develop a personalized treatment plan to help you find relief. Please fill out the form below to contact our team and schedule a consultation.